How Coach Shinhoster’s grandmother’s words led him to success


Larry Shinhoster Jr.

Megan Malartsik, Sectional Editor

When he was a senior in high school, Larry Shinhoster was at a crossroads.

He had to make a decision about where to play collegiate football. He had options all around the country, and he almost attended a school in Florida, his home state, until an eye-opening conversation with his grandmother Dorothy Shinhoster changed his mind.

“When I was undecided she sat me down and told me, she grabbed my hands, and she said, ‘Baby this is my home, this is my nest,'” Shinhoster recalled. “‘There’s love here, there’s happiness here, there’s warmth here but in order for you to travel, build, and see your nest you have got to leave the nest and create your own.”

Shinhoster took these words from his grandmother, Dorothy Shinhoster, at heart. She is, after all, the woman who has most impacted his life.

Shinhoster, an assistant varsity football and track and field coach at Elk Grove High School, had to go through various hardships throughout his life but credits his grandmother for all of his success that came after. 

After that awakening, he decided to begin his college experience at Harper College, approximately 1,400 miles away from his home. He was making this journey on his own, and it’s all thanks to his grandmother’s advice. This then led him to Marian University, where he played football.

“She is the heart and soul behind the name and the reason everyone in the family stays strong,” Shinhoster said. 

Her influence didn’t stop there. After his time at Harper, Larry Shinhoster was faced with financial difficulty, which caused him to drop out of Marian University until his grandmother got him right back where he needed to be. 

“She called and she told me, ‘We did not put you up here to fail,'” Shinhoster said. “‘I know it’s expensive but you’re going to make it.’ She didn’t get a chance to see me graduate but I did it.”

Shinhoster is now happily married with two daughters and working in attendance at Elk Grove. He is coaching for the Grenadiers after school, and he also has spent time as a sheriff.

He credits all of his success to the women and girls in his life, like his wife, kids, and his grandmother. 

“I’m accomplished now because of her,” Shinhoster said of his grandmother. “She would never see the accomplishments I got to make but it’s her backing and me calling home talking to her on the phone like, ‘Baby, you can do it, you’re not going to fail.'”